The Confessions of a [Newbie] Online Dater


online dating experience

Okay, I did it — I joined an online dating site.

And pigs aren’t flying? Well, that’s a relief.

People Do This?

I realize it’s 2013 and a confession about indulging in the online dating scene isn’t as groundbreaking as it seems, but apparently I was left off the memo that this is the “new thing to do.” No, really! Apparently people — my age — do this, and it’s totally normal.

I know, I know. Half of you are thinking that I’m some judgmental ignoramus, who has been sitting in her apartment watching Netflix alone on nights when others were out on dates wondering why it’s so hard to just meet a freakin’ guy but refusing to do anything out of the norm for it to happen. Well…I’m not even going to lie — you’re kind of right. It’s just that I really didn’t know that online dating had somehow erupted into something that people just do and didn’t resort to — although I know those reasons aren’t mutually exclusive either.

Big Apple, Big Disappointment

Let’s start from the beginning. When I moved to New York City last year, I was about a year out of college and excited for my new life as a city girl working and frolicking in The Big Apple. All Carrie Bradshaw clichés aside, the thought of being single and ready to mingle in a city where you literally can’t walk a block without running into an attractive guy was pretty exciting. A potential relationship was exciting — all those guys I’d be meeting and dating — oh, la, la!

Except, I didn’t.

How is that even logistically possible in the largest city in the US? I know, everyone and their mom has asked me this. All I can say is that you really need to stop watching Sex and The City because that show is a freakin’ lie if there ever was one.

Dorothy, We’re Not in College Anymore

So over a year later, I’m wondering why in the world it’s so hard to meet normal guys or even PEOPLE to hang out with post-college, and it hit me — I’m not in college anymore. This isn’t a little Utopia, where life is contained in perfect harmony between your work/education and social lives. There aren’t frat parties or campus events where you can run into a cutie and know that you at least have that one thing in common. No, in the real world, you have to do this thing called “making effort.” Damnit.

So, more than a year and a few frogs later, I was convinced to try online dating. Maybe it’s more common on the East Coast, but as much as I’d had my impression that people resorted to online dating because of whatever reason, I realized none were  as dramatic as I’d assumed. I have more than a friend — hell, I have a club of friends my age with whom I talk about my online dating adventures. In some sense, we all did “resort” to online dating but not because we’re spinsters, a bunch of crazies or desperate to get married. We just couldn’t freakin’ meet cool singles living in the city with similar interests who wanted to just date.

I’m a couple months in to this new club, and I have to say it’s pretty fun. I have my own rules on meeting a potential date, and to whom I respond and why. More or less, it’s just like normal dating with a few obvious differences. I won’t divulge too much, but if you are wondering what it’s like, I’ll give you the unofficial Cliff Notes version.

The Confessions of an Online Dater

Take these with a grain of salt, and please, just please remember — I can be really awkward when it comes to dating and relationships (like middle school awkward). It might be of interest to take that into consideration first.

  1. The first message is 10x harder than an opening line at a bar, party, wherever. My rule of thumb in determining whether the guy is a total creep or weirdo is to ask myself this: Did he actually say something weird? If the answer is no, then give him the benefit of the doubt. The first time a guy messaged me, “Hey, how’s it going?” I literally wanted to think he was a creep just because it felt so weird getting a message like that from someone I didn’t know, until I realized that this whole thing was an unnatural process to begin with. This is where it’s definitely not like normal dating. If he or she doesn’t say something weird, then it’s a good sign!
  2. I really hate ignoring messages — like I really hate ignoring messages. I just feel like a bitch not responding to or acknowledging this human being trying to show interest in me. But then I think — he gets it. There’s some understood social etiquette to online dating, and an unanswered message probably means: I looked at your profile and your pictures, and you didn’t interest me — or your message was freakin’ weird (see #1). He’s throwing out a fishnet into the ocean; he’s expecting to catch one or two, and he’s probably not going to take this that personally if his first message isn’t answered. Just don’t be such a girl when your fishnet only comes back with a few swimmers too…(So, I tell myself.)
  3. Okay, I’m glad this site has a nifty messaging service, but I’m going to need to know you’re a real person at some point. My thing with online dating is that I want to use it as a means to be introduced to a guy — not to get to know him. Some people are okay with online messaging for a significant amount of time, but I’d rather not. A handful of messages is fine, but I’d like to actually see you in person sooner than later because, let’s face it, that’s really going to be what I’m going to judge you on. That also means no long-distance. If I can’t meet you, then I don’t want to talk to you — simple as that!
  4. The most important thing about online dating is being comfortable with doing it. It’s different, new and a little intimidating, but if you can’t jump in and just do it with 100% confidence, then don’t do it. It’s a means to meet people; you’re not signing your soul away! (Unless you join the site where they do that…) Don’t feel ashamed to do it, and definitely don’t feel ashamed if you meet someone great from it. Embrace it, and enjoy it!

Have you done online dating? I want to know your thoughts about it and/or experiences!

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3 thoughts on “The Confessions of a [Newbie] Online Dater

    • Oh, I will definitely have to. I think a follow-up to this post is definitely going to be a rundown of the most ridiculous messages I’ve gotten and how they give people a good reason to be scared of online dating! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  1. Pingback: How Much is too Much? | What's a girl to do?

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